Wednesday, 13 December 2017

WOW: Secret Garden's Satisfying Centre

 WOW = WIPs On Wednesday 
I'm so pleased that my Secret Garden quilt top is now together. And, as soon as I find a wall big enough, I'll take a photo of the whole top to show you. This is one quilt where the parts are lovelier the longer you look at them - detail overload! This is the satisfying center and I love everything about it.

In the next few days I'll be releasing the final installment of Secret Garden, Part 12 of 12, so those of you taking part can finalize your WIPs and get your schedules in order. December is a crazy month in my household, so I know how helpful it is to get fabrics, projects and plans for the New Year in order. Speaking of fabrics, I'm awaiting a very special delivery, can't wait to show you my new BOM selection as soon as it arrives. 

What's Your WOW?

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Secret Garden: Fixing the Cat Block

As in life, as you quilt - you learn. Once again, my quilting adventure this year has taught me some important reminders. Lessons I already knew but didn't follow and new ways of thinking about colour usage. 

First up, my irritating mistake. I thread painted my cat piece for the block on a separate piece of fabric, as a motif shape, and then, when it was halfway done, I put it into position on my actual block background and continued the thread painting. Now, I knew when I did this that I should theoretically use a hoop to stabilize the fabric stretch. But I was so wrapped up in the creative flow, that I just 'winged' it. Oh boy, big mistake. 

The fabric, bunched buckled and threatened to wreck the whole block - a whole day's work! And it's not just the 'day' that's lost, the original creative spark is hard to recapture on the 're-make'. So I was determined to 'fix' it. I unpicked a tiny bit, coaxed it with some re- stretching and finally stabilized the back.
It's acceptable now. Just. But boy am I mad with myself. Such a careless and inexperienced thing to do. Yes, even seasoned quilter's like me need to follow their own advice. This pic below shows the back of the block, stabilized. 
My second learning experience was the use of an introduced pink fabric beyond my chosen pallette for the flower heads. It's much too bright for the quilt and throws out the soft low contrast colour balance. It completely interrupts the flow. 
And when the blocks came together, it was too obvious. 
Something had to be done to tone it down a notch. 
So I'm 'washing' over the bright pink with a white milky wash in thin layers to bring to tone down.

These crayons are Caran D'Ache and this particular series of NeoColour 11 Aquarelle is colour permanent once heat set. You can find a link to these specific crayons on my sidebar if you're interested in playing around with permanent crayon colours.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

WOW: Secret Garden Finishing Touches

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday
Today I'm sewing down the finishing touches on my Secret Garden quilt top. Then I only have the last border to put down (which I intend to do right after my morning coffee) and then voila - a WIP no more.

Oh sure, it won't be 'finished' but getting the quilt top done is right where I want it before I stop for Christmas festivities. Phew, I am so glad this gorgeous, romantic beauty has finally come together.

And the best bit? So many of you are following suit and Secret Garden progress pics are coming along each day in my Facebook BOM Group.

Keep it up everyone, it's one WIP worth getting done to make way for an epic 2018 starting soon..

What's Your WOW?

Monday, 4 December 2017

'Glad Tidings' by Gail Smith

'Glad Tidings' by Gail Smith
quilted by Angela McCorkle

Look at this Christmas beauty! It's my pattern 'Glad Tidings' made by Gail Smith. Some of you might remember that Gail Smith made my Christmas pattern 'Red December' in 2015 and incredibly, she's done it again! Click here now to see that post.
I just love how perfectly "Christmas" this quilt feels. 
Isn't it stunning? This is exactly how I pictured it in my mind!
 I still have plans to make my own Glad Tidings, but you know me .. more designs than time
How dreamy is this quilting? It's gorgeous!
so it's always really special when people take the time to send me pics of the quilts they've made from my patterns
Thanks for thinking of me Gail, these pics made my day

This quilt made by Gail Smith is from my pattern 'Glad Tidings'. To read more about Glad Tidings and visit my 'Glad Tidings' post archive, click the image below.

Glad Tidings Christmas Patterns

Friday, 1 December 2017

Secret Garden: Part 11

It's December 1st and that means it's time for Part 11 of my Mystery BOM, Secret Garden.
There are 12 parts to this BOM and every single installment matters. So although this quilt isn't much of a mystery anymore, I'm fairly sure this border will take some of your by surprise. 

This month it's time to gather together your gorgeous fabrics scraps and create an entwining border that will pull together the shades and tones used throughout your centre. That's how I've made mine - it's a medley of mixed fabrics I've used throughout and it looks really effective. 
Of course, in saying that - I'm sure there will be some of you who opt for a striking contrast border instead of my suggestion - and that's half the fun - seeing what the rest of you get up to and how you interpret my design. I know you're all extra eager to get your quilt top done before Christmas, so I'll be releasing Part 12 early, in a week or so instead of making you wait out the month. 

I can't wait to show you my top.. very soon!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

WOW: Not Another WIP!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
I am determined to get my Secret Garden top together before Christmas. I cannot start 2018 with Secret Garden in pieces - it must get done! This is the challenge I have set myself and right now, it's full steam ahead. Obviously my working frenzy has had an effect on my mental calendar because somehow I lost an entire day. This morning I got up convinced it was Tuesday and packed and dressed as if I was about to take on my usual Tuesday routine. I feel like a quilter lost in the Twilight zone, I must have worked so hard I simply forgot myself (and the days of the week!). I'll blame it on this time of year - with Christmas just a few weekends away now, I suppose I must have entered the silly season early.

Here I am working on my Secret Garden centre block on a lightbox so I can trace in the lines I want. I will go over those lines with either hand embroidery flourishes or with a thicker thread in my bobbin as I did for the leaf veins in my last post, time will determine which one wins.

What's Your WOW?

Monday, 27 November 2017

Secret Garden: Leaf Stitch Details

Secret Garden is so saturated with detail 
that I knew my leaves needed a special touch to complete them
 And I wanted the look of embroidered veins without all the handwork, so I used my sewing machine to do all the work for me. Ii used AURIFIL in the 12 weight, this is a thicker thread and perfect for this kind of work. This is my Victoria Findlay Wolfe pack, as you can see I haven't even used most of the spools yet.
I used the gorgeous gold colour
I loaded the 12 weight thread into my machine bobbin. Now, when you purchase a sewing machine, always ask for the extra bobbin which takes thicker threads. You do not use the regular bobbin or your thread loading might jam.
 This is what my thicker bobbin looks like. 

My machine is a 35 year old Toyota straight stitching only machine. No fancy business here! 
It's all metal parts and this is why it does so well. I'm currently 'in between' sewing machines at the moment. The problem is that I grew up during an era when sewing machines were made to last a lifetime and metal parts were the norm. Today, many machines demand high prices for plastic parts and lacklustre warranties. It's really left me between a rock and a hard place. 

People assume I have a selection of the latest sewing machines at my fingertips. But this is not the case and frankly, isn't necessary. You can sew and quilt on pretty much any machine you have. I quilted all my award winning domestic machine quilted quilts on a 1950's Elna. So don't let what you think are limitations with your machine stop you from thinking creatively about your quilting potential.
I mention all this to let you know that you could also use the Aurifil 12 weight normally as your top thread as well with an ordinary bobbin. But if you did this, you would need to play around with the stitch tension of the machine. And I didn't want to do that.

I used the 12 weight thread in the extra large bobbin and used regular thread in the top spool. I adjusted my stitches to a large size 4 stitch and let the bobbin do the work.
Then I simply stitched over marked lines on my fusible
 I stitched them down on my machine using AURIFIL thread and lots of patience..
 I simply stitched over my fusible papers
 Like so
 to create my stitched in leaf veins
 And then continued with the usual turn edging process
Using Elmer's glue and a manicure stick 

I just love the finished result.. another lovely detail in a design that oozes lovely details

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Secret Garden: My Centre Block Details

First thing to consider was the centre. From my fabric selection, the only combination that anchored the centre was blue print with a dark gold ring. 
 Taking into account the strong use of pinl and blues in the surrounding blocks, I went with yellow outside and pink inside bloom heads.
 Like this
following my usual fusible applique technique, here's the back view
 and the front view

and still working..